The Classic FM presenter urged men to get tested and told how he deals with his grim diagnosis. BBC Breakfast presenters Louise Minchin and Jon Kay fought back tears as Strictly Come Dancing star Turnbull, 62, revealed he is living day by day. He said: “On this day when people are watching, there will be hundreds of people in Britain who will get a diagnosis.
“All I can say to them is hold tight, and things won’t be quite as dark as it is now.
“You have a few days where you’re in shock and then you have a few weeks that are pretty dark.”
Terrific Turnbull was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer in November 2017, but only went public about it in March.
He had dismissed his long-term aches and pains as “old age”. He went on to endure “relentlessly boring” chemotherapy where he lost his eyebrows and eyelashes.
Bill Turnbull speaks candidly about his illness at the BBC studios yesterday
Yesterday, the veteran presenter said the disease is present in his life when he goes to sleep at night and when he wakes up each morning.
He had 10 rounds of chemotherapy in a bid to stop the cancer, which has spread across his pelvis, hips, legs and spine. Turnbull even quipped that he was a “season ticket-holder in his local doctors” surgery and urged other men to get themselves checked.
The response among men when Turnbull and actor Stephen Fry revealed this year they had prostate cancer has been dubbed “The Fry and Turnbull Effect”.
They have been praised for raising awareness through talking about the disease.
Fry underwent surgery to have his prostate and 11 nymph nodes removed early this year.
And he urged “men of a certain age” to get themselves tested after revealing his own diagnosis in February.
Prolific writer Fry hosted BBC Two’s QI for 13 years and starred in ITV comedy Jeeves And Wooster and BBC’s Blackadder with Rowan Atkinson.
In 1997, he played Oscar Wilde in the film Wilde and his documentary Stephen Fry’s The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive won an Emmy Award in 2007.
Bill was seen at home with wife Sarah looking at cards from well-wishers
But NHS chiefs say the celebrity’s biggest contribution may end up being his prostate cancer revelation and his impassioned pleas to men to get tested.
They have admitted his comments have had such an effect this year that it led to a huge surge in PSA (prostate specific antigen) test referrals.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens even recently enthused: “The Turnbull and Fry effect could help save lives”.
NHS England deputy chief executive Matthew Swindells said there had been an “extraordinary spike in demand” in recent months.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens
And the NHS said the surge in the demand post-Fry announcement actually affected their waiting time targets.
Figures from April to June 2018 show that 80.8 per cent of patients with suspected cancer started treatment within 62 days of being urgently referred by a GP.
This is below the target of 85 per cent for the 18th consecutive quarter, and the worst quarterly performance against this target since records began.
Yesterday, viewers of BBC Breakfast saw Fry praise Bill Turnbull, saying: “I thought Bill was terrific, brave, rational and wise.”
Stephen Fry had an operation to remove his prostate and viewers saw him praise Turnbull for courage
Fry added that he had to get used to the idea of the diagnosis, saying: “I went around saying to myself, ‘I’ve got cancer.
“Good heavens, Stephen, you’re not the sort of person who gets cancer’.
“I know it’s an old cliche, but you don’t think it’s going to happen to you.”
He added: “I generally felt my life was saved by this early intervention, so I would urge any of you men of a certain age to get your PSA levels checked.”